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2010 May 16 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Official Government Response

Gulf Gusher symbolThe BBC records the official US response to BP’s success in putting the tube in place: US says BP move to curb oil leak ‘no solution’

… a joint statement by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said the latest technique was “not a solution to the problem and it is not yet clear how successful it may be”.

It added: “We will not rest until BP permanently seals the well head, the spill is cleaned up, and the communities and natural resources of the Gulf Coast are restored and made whole.”

There is standard military shorthand for that sort of statement: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over!

As a professionally suspicious person for years, I wonder if BP’s legal case may be altered if this is a “proven well”, rather than an “exploratory well”? Is there some advantage gained by BP on its balance sheet? Everything they have done is designed to capture a significant amount of oil in a tanker on the surface, not to stop the flow.

The manifold that will be used to inject the “junk” to plug the BOP was in place from the beginning and I would assume that the “kill mud” to pump into the well on the follow up is readily available, as is the cement to seal it. So what has been the point of these containment structures and the tube? They cut the pipe and installed a plug to block the third leak, so why not move down the pipe and take care of the second leak the same way?

There has to be a reason for why they are doing things this way.

May 16, 2010   Comments Off on Official Government Response

A Programming Note

You may notice that the Hurricane sites have shown up on the Right Sidebar although the season doesn’t officially kick-off for another couple of weeks.

There is the possibility of a tropical event forming this week, off the Yucatan Peninsula. That would certainly make activities interesting at the drilling site.

The first name for this year is Alex.

May 16, 2010   Comments Off on A Programming Note

They Managed To Do Something

Gulf Gusher symbolI have three versions of what BP has finally managed to accomplish below the fold. I considered including the AP version, but you can get BP press releases at a lot of places, so why give the AP a link for their version?

My take is that while this “tool” will suck up some gas and oil and reduce the amount flowing into the Gulf, it is more about recovering crude to be sent to a refinery than controlling this well. Using a wet-dry vac with a 2-inch hose might slow the rate at which your basement is being flooded by the 6-inch water main, but it isn’t going to stop it.

In case you haven’t noticed the thread in BP’s efforts, they are based on recovering oil, not on stopping the leak. They have been at it for a month and sticking a hose into the riser is the best they could come up with?

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May 16, 2010   5 Comments

BP Winning Media War

Gulf Gusher symbolThis has been going on for nearly a month and BP is finally managing to make headway in the media coverage through the use of dispersants injected into the oil well below the surface. This means the oil doesn’t make it to the surface, and isn’t providing the media with the “visuals” it feels are necessary to continue covering the story. The oil is still there, but you need cameras under water to see it.

As the Times-Picayune reports huge underwater plumes have been found.

Researchers Vernon Asper and Arne Dierks said in Web posts that the plumes were “perhaps due to the deep injection of dispersants which BP has stated that they are conducting.”

These plumes are not benign, they are consuming the oxygen in the water which kills everything in that water. But since people can’t see lakes of oil at the surface, they assume there is no problem.

April M. Havens’s Mississippi Press report shows the “official” reaction:

While [Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Phil] Bryant has heard reports of crude oil-related odors, “I don’t know how that is a great issue,” he said.

“If we see the oil, if we have tar balls, that’s what I’m concentrated on,” he said. “An odor of petroleum might not be something you want to detect, but that is not at my top list of concerns.”

Bryant said he chose to use the opportunity to promote tourism because of the topic and nature of the conference.

“At the same time I’m encouraging tourism, I’m also in meetings with engineers with BP,” he said, noting he tries to strike a balance between preparedness and overreaction.

“I don’t think were sugarcoating this, and we don’t have a Pollyanna expectation,” he said. “But when you’re in a position of responsibility, the last thing you want to do is let fear dictate your decisions.”

Bryant is using the lack of visible oil to downplay the real problem in the Gulf which would hurt his chances to eat from the corporate trough.

Of course, Bryant wouldn’t want the people of Mississippi to think he isn’t ready to burn the US Constitution if someone says “Allah” in public. Part of being a Republican is knowing which paranoid fantasies you should promote, and which real problems you should ignore.

The Times-Picayune has a good article on the tiniest victims of the gusher. While the article focuses on the marshes, if you lose the single-celled life in the Gulf, nothing above it on the food chain can survive.

May 16, 2010   Comments Off on BP Winning Media War